Johnson & Johnson Has Reportedly Known About Asbestos in Its Baby Powder for Decades

baby powder in a rowMike Mozart via Flickr

We are taught to trust products produced by major corporations, but what happens when one of the biggest companies in the globe has been accused of distributing a product containing a deadly ingredient? Just this morning, news broke that Johnson & Johnson knew that its top-selling baby powder contained asbestos, DECADES before it was revealed to the public.

The revelation comes from a Reuters report in which over 30 years of documents and depositions from the company were reviewed. In its research, the news organization found that executives, lawyers, mine managers, and doctors working for Johnson & Johnson knew that its baby powder contained raw talc and finished powders that, at times, contained small amounts of asbestos.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the healthcare giant fired back at Reuters’ report. In an email, J&J’s vice president of global media relations, Ernie Knewitz said, “Plaintiffs’ attorneys out for personal financial gain are distorting historical documents and intentionally creating confusion in the courtroom and in the media. This is all a calculated attempt to distract from the fact that thousands of independent tests prove our talc does not contain asbestos or cause cancer. Any suggestion that Johnson & Johnson knew or hid information about the safety of talc is false.”

A lawyer for the company, Peter Bicks, questioned the science used in Reuters’ report: “The scientific consensus is that the talc used in talc-based body powders does not cause cancer, regardless of what is in that talc. This is true even if — and it does not — Johnson & Johnson’s cosmetic talc had ever contained minute, undetectable amounts of asbestos.”

Whatever the case may be, the public seems to be very unhappy with Johnson & Johnson’s reported lies. Since this morning’s announcement, the company’s shares continue to plummet.

What are your thoughts on this news? Are you surprised that Johnson & Johnson would not be honest about its ingredients? Will you still purchase this baby powder? What is your favorite baby-friendly brand?